Monarch Paint and Wallcovering

Meet The Decorator: Sherry Burton Ways

Sherry Burton Way’s mission is to use her creative gifts to inspire and educate people to create peaceful and productive interior environments.  Burton-Ways, a former transportation planner for private, corporate and public agencies, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master of City and Regional Planning.  In her former career,  she traveled around the United States and abroad.  Now, Sherry utilizes her extensive travel experience and her love for interiors to help transform the lives of people through their homes.


Sherry’s design career began through her studies in interior design at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland in 2004.  Her design career spans over a decade.  As a former Principal of her own boutique design firm and through other collaborative ventures, Sherry has designed diverse projects ranging from private homes, to several apartment residential buildings.Some of her design work has earned her local recognition and awards which has enhanced her reputation as a results driven design professional.  Sherry is also a Certified Interior Color Consultant who has been trained by Leatrice Eiseman, nationally recognized and quoted color specialist and Executive Director of the Pantone Institute. In addition she trained under Kate Smith,  a noted color consultant and CEO of Sensational Color.  Her creative talent and diverse design expertise contribute greatly to the Monarch Decor Department. We decided to ask her a few questions about her approach to decorating.


What led you to work in the decorating/design business?

I started decorating my first home back in the late nineties.  I did so to create a haven for myself to escape a very busy work life I was experiencing at the time.  It started out as sort of a hobby.  I would read a lot of magazines and books about design and decorating.  I always had an artistic bent.  I loved to draw, make art, etc.  Decorating gave me a creative outlet.  I had a favorite decorating book I would review and copy the decor styles I found in it.  At my first housewarming, my friends and family were thrilled with what they experienced in my home.  They began to ask me questions and wanted to learn more.

Tell us about your first decorating project? My first real project was to assist my Pastor who asked my to decorate her new home.  I helped her create a very peaceful retreat including a fountain, earth-tone colors and naturally inspired accessories.  In addition, I used most of her own furnishings to pull it together.  She was thrilled!  In church, she would rave about my decorating.  Her friends and family loved the work I did and complimented her on it.

 How would you describe your personal decorating style?  I would describe my style as modern and contemporary with an eclectic twist.


Photo Courtesy of Sherry Ways

What inspires you in design or decorating? 

My inspiration comes from other designers who I admire as well as browsing furniture stores, watching the trends, and reviewing popular social media.

What design “rule” would you love to break?

I think that design should be organic.  I think it should come from your own heart, soul and inspiration, not necessarily what design industry experts believe it should be.

What is the most essential element of any room?

The most essential element in a room for me is feel.  I always want to evoke a feeling in the room or space.

When you start working with a new client, what are three things you tell them about the way you work?

I always tell them that I am not the only designer in the room.  My clients are part of my team and I do not like to dictate or enforce my thoughts about what I think the space ought to be.  Therefore, my client’s participation and decision making is mandatory.

Second, I believe and teach that they need to understand what they have budgeted to pay for design services.  Then determine what they want to budget for the implementation of those services.

Third, I want to know the feel and design style they are going after.



Photo Courtesy of Sherry Ways

What do you think about the 2016 Benjamin Moore Color Trends Palette?  Do you have a favorite color in the palette that you most like to decorate with?  

I really am thrilled with the 2016 Color Trends Palette.  It is very colorful and diverse.  My favorite color in the palette is Gray Owl.  It is a sophisticated color that is great for both traditional and contemporary interiors.

  Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

What advice would you give someone choosing the perfect paint color?  

I let my clients know that whatever color they choose to make sure they are clear about the amount of natural light and artificial light that is in the space.  This is important in selecting a color that will reflect the light properly.   Second, I always explore the mood or feeling is desired in the space to determine whether or not a warm or cool color is most appropriate.  Last, I encourage people to always test the color to see how it works at various times of the day and night.

When it comes to window treatments, how do you advise your clients about what would work best?  

I always follow the design style that is trying to be achieved in the space.  If it is contemporary we can do treatments that have clean lines and less drama.  If it is traditional, then we can do treatments that are layered and detailed.  In addition, function is also important.  I like to know if the function of the treatment is purely decorative or is it an answer to a light or privacy issue.

Finally, what is it about interior decor that designs better lives?  

Function, flow and above all feel.

Interested in working with Sherry for your next decorating project?  To contact Sherry please call our Decor Department at our Chevy Chase store at 202-525-3468 or email her at to book an appointment.

This entry was published on February 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm. It’s filed under Color Consultation, Decorating, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, Meet the Decorator, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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